Upton, Trone Introduce House Resolution Designating May 10 as National Fentanyl Awareness Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-MD) led a group of their colleagues in introducing a House resolution designating May 10, 2022, as National Fentanyl Awareness Day.
Overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, largely due to the influx of fentanyl – a synthetic opioid – being mixed into illicit and counterfeit drugs. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are leading the effort in the Senate.
In the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. Nearly 69,000 of those deaths involved fentanyl. As of March 2022, fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that nearly 40% of counterfeit pills contain potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, which is 2mg or the equivalent of a few grains of sugar. The number of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl seized by the DEA has increased more than 500% since 2019, up to 9.5 million counterfeit pills in 2021. Such pills can include Adderall, Xanax, and Valium, and are manufactured to look identical to authentic prescriptions. The CDC also warn that fentanyl can be laced into heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
“Sadly, millions of Americans know the pain and anguish of losing a loved one to an overdose. Last year more than 100,000 thousand Americans lost their lives and their battle with this highly addictive drug,” said Congressman Upton. “On this day of awareness, we hope to remember those we have lost as well as address the root cause of these tragic deaths. We must hold the manufacturers and sellers accountable and provide treatment to those afflicted with addiction.”
“Synthetic opioids like fentanyl have become the number one driver of drug-related deaths in America. Even worse, most folks don’t even know the real dangers of fentanyl-laced drugs before taking them,” said Congressman Trone, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. “As a country, we need to take charge of our own destiny to not only stem the supply of these lethal drugs across our borders, but also reduce the demand in our own communities through prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction. By increasing the awareness of fentanyl and its deadly impacts, we can save lives.”
“Once fueled by prescription drugs, the opioid epidemic that has ravaged the United States for years is now fueled primarily by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is lethal at extremely low doses. This means when illegal drug dealers mix small amounts of the drug into counterfeit pills, the risk of an overdose death rises exponentially,” said Senator Feinstein. “With fentanyl-related deaths climbing every year, we must do more to raise awareness of what is fueling record-high overdose deaths.”
“Fentanyl has poisoned the streets of our communities, including through counterfeit pills that are made to look like prescription drugs. These fake pills are often sold on social media or other online platforms to teenagers and young adults, which has worsened the substance abuse crisis. By joining our effort to raise awareness, law enforcement officers, parents and educators across the country can take proactive steps to get illicit counterfeit pills off the streets and help save lives,” Senator Grassley said.
The resolution is cosponsored in the House by Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Chris Pappas (D-NH).
For more information and resources on National Fentanyl Awareness Day, visit fentanylawarenessday.org.
Full text of the resolution is available HERE.